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Stroke is one of the most devastating neurological conditions, with an approximate worldwide mortality of 5.5 million annually and loss of 44 million disability-adjusted life-years. The etiology of stroke is often unknown; it has been estimated that the etiology and pathophysiology remains unexplained in more than 40% of stroke cases. The conventional stroke risk factors, including hypertension, diabetes mellitus, smoking, and cardiac diseases, do not fully account for the risk of stroke, and stroke victims, especially young subjects, often do not have any of these factors. It is very likely that inflammation, specific genetic predispositions and traditional risk factors interact with each other and may together increase the risk of stroke. Inflammatory and immune responses play important roles in the course of ischemic stroke. Hyperhomocysteinemia (hcy) is considered a modifiable risk factor for stroke, possibly through an atherogenic and prothrombotic mechanism. Both genetic and environmental factors (e.g., dietary intake of folic acid and B vitamins) affect homocysteine level. Identification of the role of hcy as a modifiable risk factor for stroke and of HSPs as regulators of the immune response may lead to more effective prevention and treatment of stroke through dietary and pharmacological intervention. Dietary modification may also include supplementation with novel preventive compounds, such as the antioxidative isoflavones - genistein or daidzein.
Flavonoids, polyphenolic compounds present in many food products, affect growth of different bacterial species when tested as purified or synthetic substances. They can also influence gene expression in human cells, like fibroblasts. Here, we asked if soy isoflavone extracts, commonly used in many products sold as anti-menopausal dietary supplements, influence bacterial growth similarly to a synthetic isoflavone, genistein. Four commercially available products were tested in amounts corresponding to genistein concentrations causing inhibition of growth of Vibrio harveyi (a model bacterium sensitive to this isoflavone) and Escherichia coli (a model bacterium resistant to genistein). Differential effects of various extracts on V. harveyi and E. coli growth, from stimulation, to no changes, to inhibition, were observed. Moreover, contrary to genistein, the tested extracts caused a decrease (to different extent) in viability of human dermal fibroblasts. These results indicate that effects of various soy isoflavone extracts on bacterial growth and viability of human cells are different, despite similar declared composition of the commercially available products.
Genistein, a major phytoestrogen of soy, is considered a potential drug for prevention and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis. The aim of the present study was to compare the effects of genistein, estradiol and raloxifene on the skeletal system in vivo and in vitro. Genistein (5 mg/kg), estradiol (0.1 mg/kg) or raloxifene hydrochloride (5 mg/kg) were administered daily by a stomach tube to mature ovariectomized Wistar rats for 4 weeks. Bone mass, mineral and calcium content, macrometric parameters and mechanical properties were examined. Also the effects of genistein, estradiol and raloxifene (10-9-10-7 M) on the formation of osteoclasts from neonatal mouse bone marrow cells and the activity of osteoblasts isolated from neonatal mouse calvariae were compared. In vivo, estrogen deficiency resulted in the impairment of bone mineralization and bone mechanical properties. Raloxifene but not estradiol or genistein improved bone mineralization. Estradiol fully normalized the bone mechanical properties, whereas genistein augmented the deleterious effect of estrogen-deficiency on bone strength. In vitro, genistein, estradiol and raloxifene inhibited osteoclast formation from mouse bone marrow cells, decreasing the ratio of RANKL mRNA to osteoprotegerin mRNA expression in osteoblasts. Genistein, but not estradiol or raloxifene, decreased the ratio of alkaline phosphatase mRNA to ectonucleotide pyrophosphatase phosphodiesterase 1 mRNA expression in osteoblasts. This difference may explain the lack of genistein effect on bone mineralization observed in ovariectomized rats in the in vivo study. Concluding, our experiments demonstrated profound differences between the activities of genistein, estradiol and raloxifene towards the osseous tissue in experimental conditions.
In the discussion of the risk-benefit relation of the hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for elder women phytochemicals with estrogenic activity received a great deal of attention. Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring compounds with structural similarity to 17b-estradiol. Especially genistein, an isoflavone most abundant in soy, possess a high and selective binding-affinity to the mammalian estrogen receptors. It has been found, that genistein exert in humans both: weak estrogenic and antiestrogenic effects, similar to the SERMs. Consequently, it was concluded, that genistein might provide an alternative to prevent postmenomausal bone-loss and ameliorate menopausal symptoms without side-effects similar to HRT. Pre-clinical experiments and results from clinical pilot studies with pure genistein confirmed its efficacy in these indications. Nevertheless, currently some open issues still exist to recommend its intake thoughtlessly. Bonistein™, pure synthetic genistein developed by DSM Nutritional Products, was tested extensively in appropriate models for bone health. A battery of toxicological studies was conducted to determine safe intake levels. In the early clinical development pharmacokinetic studies were performed in healthy volunteers and in postmenopausal women. Now large-scale studies are in preparation to investigate Bonistein™'s efficacy in postmenopausal bone-loss and climacteric syndrome.
 Genistein, the principal isoflavone constituent of soybean, attracts much attention as a natural molecule with significant affinity towards targets of potential medicinal interest, but also as a food supplement or prospective chemopreventive agent. Since its physicochemical properties are considered suboptimal for drug development, much effort has been invested in designing its analogs and conjugates in hope to obtain compounds with improved efficacy and selectivity. The aim of this article is to summarize current knowledge about the properties of synthetic genistein derivatives and to discuss possible clinical application of selected novel compounds. Some basic information concerning chemical reactivity of genistein, relevant to the synthesis of its derivatives, is also presented.
Genistein is a phytoestrogen and is found in many plants consumed by humans and animals. This isoflavone was found to exert metabolic effects, especially on lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. The aim of this experiment was to determine whether genistein at a dose of 1 and 5 mg/kg body weight administered intragastrically to male and female adult rats changes insulin, leptin, thyroid hormone, and metabolic parameters. The results suggest that genistein has only a slight influence on metabolism. A substantial reduction of triglyceride stores was observed in the skeletal muscles. This effect was sex-dependent and occurred only in females. Moreover, it was demonstrated that genistein at the higher dose decreased blood insulin and leptin levels.
The results of several epidemiological studies have suggested that a soybean-based diet is associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer. We investigated the effect of the soy isoflavone genistein on the proliferation and contact-stimulated migration of rat prostatic carcinoma MAT-LyLu and AT-2 cell lines. Genistein almost completely inhibited the growth of both MAT-LyLu and AT-2 cells in the concentration range from 25 to 100 μM, but the addition of 1 μM genistein to the medium significantly stimulated the proliferation of both cell lines. Additionally, at concentrations above 25 μM, genistein showed a potent cytotoxic effect. However, the central finding of this study is that at physiologically relevant concentrations (1 μM and 10 μM), genistein inhibits the motility of prostate cancer cells stimulated by homo-and heterotypic contacts. These results show that at physiological concentrations, genistein exerts an inhibitory effect on the migration of prostate cancer cells and suggest that it may be one of the factors responsible for the anti-metastatic activity of plant isoflavonoids.
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